At the end of January I ventured to the beautiful tropical island of Puerto Rico with my NYC Skate family for the Guajataka Downhill Race. Being very new to downhill skating I went as a spectator/ supporter/ photographer and spreader of stoke….oh and I really needed some sunshine in my life after 3 or 4 months of freezing NYC weather. Want a little insight into what went down? Check out the edit above or have a little read below.
DAY 1: Luckily a group of us were heading to JFK airport from the same area of Brooklyn so we all hopped in a cab together and made our way to the airport. We boarded our plane, literally on boards, then we were off. A beautiful sunrise and lots of fluffy clouds later I looked out the plane window to see bright blue water and colors that can do nothing but make you smile. We were about to land in Puerto Rico. Noishh Boom, Puerto Rican local and Bustin Boards Team Rider who spent many months in NYC this summer blowing people’s minds with his skate skills collected us from the airport and took us on a little tour of his island. We found our hotel, dropped off our stuff, grabbed our boards and started skating. Within ten minutes we had found the local skate park, where we chilled for a while then decided the beach was calling our name. This beach was beautiful; white sand, turquoise water for miles and a magical forest behind the beach. Not to mention the road to beach was all downhill. Super rad. We spent the rest of the day in the water, finding pretty seashells and enjoying the sunshine. That evening we returned to our hotel, met up with some other homies then took a little walk to a more local beach, made a fire and drank some Gasolina. Oh how I miss Gasolina.
Day 2: GUAJATAKA. Our hotel was a little trip away from the Guajataka race course but thanks to a local taxi service we were there in no time, ready for the crew to register and then meet up with skater friends from all over. The crew introduced me to some rad folks and I had a great time chatting away with everyone. We soon decided it was time to start skating so started pushing to the top of a pretty impressive hill perfect for sliding. This same hill would be home to the official slide jam part of the event the next day. The boys from Rayne Longboards, Landyachtz and Abec11 were already shredding and it didn’t take much before Steezy Sanchez, Noishh, Nate, Paulie and the rest of our crew were tearing up the hill too. We stayed at the hill until the sun set, ate dinner at local spot then headed back to the hotel for a relatively early night in prep for the next day.
Day 3: Up early and skated to a little Puerto Rican cafe for breakfast so Sanchez could get some fuel for competition day. When we got to the race track there were some rad practice runs going on getting everyone stoked. We skated to the top of the hill, which was nothing but a dreamy uphill push with beautiful scenery and found spots to watch the Slalom Race which we knew our very own Steven Sanchez would kill it in…and kill it he did. Flying through those cones, beating all sorts of awesome renowned skaters he placed 2nd to Zak Maytum, Madrid Skateboard rider, Venom owner and all round rad dude. Super proud of our boy, we didnt have much time to celebrate yet because the Slide Jam was about to go down at the top of the hill. In complete awe, I watched and let my mind be blown. So many awesome slides, jumps and tricks were going on and not to mention some gnarly, gnarly bails. The sun set and the sliding went on into the darkness with the crowd going wild. The energy was so euphoric that I’m positively sure everyone would have kept shredding into the early hours had we been able to. Louis Pilloni skated hard and fast from start to finish and pulled out some super gnarly slides blowing the event up to a whole new level. He took home the gold for the slide jam that night and my homegirl Keyla Dennise, local Puerto Rican chica took home the win for the ladies. So rad.
Day 4: Last day in PR and RACE DAY. We got to the race hill and all the riders were getting ready, zipping up their leathers and getting stoked for the day. From the bottom of the hill I watched a couple practice runs go down and even though i was standing on an elevated slope above the race course, a local skater lost it and before I knew it his board has smashed into my ankle. Boom. I was down. Ice and some serious TLC later I was alright…or so I thought. The downhill event started. Super crazy. After a few hours and heats of racing, things were getting out of control. People were all over the course in between heats and then even as racers came down they were cutting it hella close. Something was bound to happen…and it did. A small girl was hit by a downhill skater and got taken out…blood galore. Not so good. The race got called off. Skaters and spectators were at risk and that was no good. By that time, my injury was getting a lot worse and I unfortunately couldn’t walk. Although my ankle got hit by the board it was knee that was throbbing. After a wee ambulance visit, enough ice to make an iceberg and a lot of help from the awesome people around me I was able to keep going on with the day…hopping along to see my boy Sanchez on the podium and then to the crazy street party which ended our trip to PR. It was a rad time had by all and thankfully my knee started to feel better by the time we made it back to NYC. I had a day to rest before I unpacked my bikinis and replaced them with snow gear. SIA 13 and COLORADO were calling my name. Shred time was not over yet.
See you next year PR. Thanks for the sweet memories.
Phillip Stretch Baker over at 1904 Photography has been killing it lately. Check out some of his pics from the Mountain of Angels outlaw!!!! These Photos are property of 1904 Photography so don’t steal or chop watermarks. No bueno.
you kinda have to just let the water sit on it for a little bit, then its not so bad.
I always apply pressure to it before I get in cause I know it’s going to hurt like a motherfucker
or you can just suck up the pain, its not really that bad to be honest here.
If you yell fuck really loud, it gets rid of the pain.